A watchdog group confirms that Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi has 10 tons of mustard gas stockpiled, and it is feared he may use it on opposition forces seeking to bring an end to his 41-year-old regime.
The group, The Organization for the Prohibition for Chemical Weapons, issued the warning on Sunday.
Former United Nations weapons inspector Tim Trevan confirmed the report on the American cable news network Fox News, saying the substance was actually “a very viscous liquid, rather than a gas, but it's called mustard gas popularly.”
He added that although Libya was “required to destroy these stocks … they still have about 9.5 tons they haven't destroyed yet.”
Trevan said the substance is being stored in a location about 600 kilometers south of Tripoli, and noted that it was not clear how or even if Qaddafi could manage to transport the poison to the capital.
Nevertheless, he said, “you could do an improvised explosive device, putting some explosive on a barrel of the stuff.” The former weapons inspector didn't believe the method would be very effective as a weapon of mass destruction, but said “it might, of course, hurt a handful of people and create panic.”
Former Libyan Justice Minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil warned Friday that Qaddafi may use biological and chemical weapons against civilians.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Abdel-Jalil said, “We call on the international community and the U.N. To prevent Qaddafi from going on with his plans in Tripoli. At the end when he's really pressured, he can do anything. I think Qaddafi will burn everything left behind him.”